The BSAVA has recently formed a new ‘Sustainability Working Group (SWG)’ of interested BSAVA volunteers and staff members. The initial purpose of the SWG is to explore the feasibility of BSAVA becoming carbon neutral as an organisation, both at the Association’s HQ (Woodrow House) and association-wide.
The SWG will be responsible for developing and overseeing a strategy to achieve these ambitions, in addition to writing a sustainability policy and monitoring progress. Subsequently, the SWG will promote and enable sustainable working in small animal practice.
To date, the SWG has engaged with: Carbon Footprint to offset the BSAVA Virtual Congress 2021; Investors in the Environment (iiE) with a view to achieving environmental certification; and Vet Sustain with a view to working collaboratively to support those working in small animal practice.
The formation of the SWG demonstrates BSAVA commitment towards environmental sustainability and will assist small animal practices to work towards sustainable ways of working.
Whilst the formation of the SWG may be a new development, BSAVA has been committed to environmental sustainability for some time. At previous BSAVA Congresses a wide range of sustainability and community initiatives were introduced; re-usable water bottles were provided for delegates to remove the production of 14,000 single use bottles, excess lunches and food were donated to food banks, bags and uniforms donated where possible to reduce the carbon footprint, reducing the volume of printed materials, a new badge provider provided a ‘print onsite’ solution - significantly reducing the size of the badges, wasted badges, and the number that needed to be posted out before the event, increasing recyclable materials including lanyards and delegate bags being manufactured from 100% recycled plastic (PET), and providing a platform for Learning Without Landfill to launch their pledge.
As well as offsetting our carbon dioxide production, BSAVA Virtual Congress 2021 is actively promoting a cleaner future in the module ‘Can the Profession Go Green?’ This module explores why environmental awareness matters, what is possible and how sustainability makes sense – not only environmentally and ethically, but also as part of practice identity and mind-set. Further information can be found here.
In addition to the initiatives explored at BSAVA Congress, BSAVA has made environmentally friendly strides in other areas of the association; BSAVA’s member magazine Companion has been delivered in non-plastic compostable bags since March 2019 and since then the paper weight has been reduced. BSAVA members now have to opt-in to print copies of the Journal of Small Animal Practice (JSAP), which has substantially reduced the number of copies printed and posted. Furthermore, in 2018 the association launched the BSAVA Library to make it even easier to access its wide-ranging published content, giving people the option to choose digital rather than print copies. BSAVA regions ceased the production of printed and plastic bound notes for CPD courses from 2017, opting instead to circulate via PDF to delegates.